Caiman Ecological Refuge

 

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is a sustainable eco-lodge located on a 53,000 hectare ranch in the heart of the Brazilian wetlands called the Pantanal.  The flood plane is a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to more than 650 species, thousands of varieties of butterflies, 80 species of mammals and more than 250 species of fish.  In 2000, the Pantanal wetland was designated a World Natural Heritage and World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Caiman Lodge macaw

 

Guests staying at the Caiman Lodge have the unique opportunity to see the elusive jaguars.  Projeto Onçafari is a non-profit conservation initiative that aims to promote ecotourism in the Pantanal by habituating Jaguars in order for guests to witness the fascinating behavior of these beautiful animals from a safari vehicle.

Jaquar Caiman Lodge

Jaguar Caiman Lodge

Most recently, clients of mine saw four jaguars on their very first day at the lodge and I was thrilled to receive the following photo from them.

Jaguar at Caiman Lodge by Steve Ice

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is considered the premier lodge in the region and is a must stop on any wildlife enthusiasts’ itinerary.  I recommend at least 3 nights and 4 days at the lodge.

Baiazinha Caiman Lodge

Contact Jill for itinerary planning and reservations.

Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialists

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MONTCLAIR, NJ – December 2016– JILL SIEGEL, owner of South American Escapes has been named one of the 164 Top Travel Specialists by Condé Nast Traveler magazine for the 8th consecutive year.  By combining firsthand experience and 30 years of knowledge within the Brazilian Travel Industry, Jill provides the type of expertise needed to create seamless and unique travel experiences for her clients.  Out of thousands of candidates, 164 made the list this year.

“If you read Condé Nast Traveler, chances are you want to go somewhere and do something most people haven’t. And to turn a vacation into an I’ll-tell-my-grandkids-about-this lifetime high point, you need an “experience maker,” as we refer to them here at Traveler. These on-the-ground fixers don’t dole out canned itineraries.” said Condé Nast Traveler Senior Editor Paul Brady.

Brazil Travel Specialist Jill Siegel focuses on exclusive out of the way places that provide the very best in the Brazilian hospitality and tourism sector.  From coordinating travel for world class photographers to the Amazon or arranging private travel arrangements for clients as diverse as Susan Sarandon and Charles Darwin’s great great grandson, Jill’s eclectic network of contacts throughout Brazil has allowed her to create rave worthy itineraries.

Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Travel Specialists list began as a service travel directory 12 years ago, yet it has turned into a must-have list of the most impressive, knowledgeable, and experienced travel specialists in the world.

Each year, Condé Nast Traveler Senior Editor Paul Brady leads a team of editors in evaluating applicants.  Listed travel specialists have undergone a rigorous screening process that includes a 47-question application with sample itineraries and client references, and then continues with phone interviews and, in most cases, road-testing by Condé Nast Traveler staff.  Brady receives hundreds of letters annually from around the world reporting back on the trips that were planned by these specialists.

About Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler does not accept free travel and accommodations, and its correspondents, as far as possible, travel anonymously.  The result is travel the way consumers experience it — good and bad, with reporting that is fair and honest.  Condé Nast Traveler has a circulation of over 800,000 and is published by Condé Nast Publications, Inc.

#ExperienceMakers @cntraveler @JillBrazil

Read Article on CN Traveler.

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Jill’s page on Conde Nast Traveler’s website: Click here

Villa Luz – Buzios, Brazil

Villa Luz is a stunning 5 bedroom hilltop villa with sweeping views of Ferrudura Bay as well as the Atlantic Ocean.  Graceful contemporary architecture comprised of a restrained palette of natural local materials provides a backdrop to the phenomenal natural setting.

 

Buzios-Villa2

Each suite has a private balcony facing the ocean.  The suites are entered via a courtyard garden replete with gurgling fountains and gentle waterfalls. The heart of the home is a 2 level 1,700 sq ft. living, dining and entertaining area. Two living areas and a bar also share the modern space with a 14 seat home theatre on the mezzanine. Sliding glass doors allow for the living area to be completely opened up to the garden, pool and sunsets providing a superlative and relaxing relationship with the natural surroundings.

Buzios-Villa-1-Pool

On the mezzanine there is a 14 seat home-theater which has a large flat screen TV with DVD player and surround sound to create an outstanding home cinema experience.

The swimming pool is 14 meters X 4 meters with 8 sun beds surrounded by a sandstone tiled patio, accented with mini palm trees.  The outside area has a shaded gazebo which contains an open barbecue and table ideal for pool side lunches.

Includes cook and full-time assistance of an English speaking concierge.

For more information:  Villa Luz

For reservations contact:  Jill Siegel

 

Conde Nast Traveler – Top Travel Specialist

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JILL SIEGEL, OF SOUTH AMERICAN ESCAPES NAMED

ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP TRAVEL SPECIALISTS

BY CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER

MONTCLAIR-Based Travel Specialist One of 128 Travel Specialists

Named to Condé Nast Traveler World’s Top Travel Specialists List

MONTCLAIR, NJ – AUGUST 2008– JILL SIEGEL/SOUTH AMERICAN ESCAPES has been named one of the world’s 128 Top Travel Specialists by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.  By combining first hand experience and years of knowledge, the travel specialists named to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008 World’s Top Travel Specialists list provide their clients with the most up-to-date, exclusive information out there.  Out of thousands of candidates, 128 made the list this year.

“To be included on the list, travel specialists need to remain ahead of online travel sites, and they need to offer a combination of insider advice, local connections, added value, and special access,” said Condé Nast Traveler Consumer News Editor Wendy Perrin.

“Working within the Brazilian Travel Industry for the last 26 years has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience and I am honored to be recognized by Condé Nast Traveler for being one of the world’s top travel specialists,” said Jill Siegel.

South American Escapes focuses on that special, exclusive out of the way place that provides the very best in the Brazilian hospitality and tourism sector.  From coordinating travel to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to arranging private travel arrangements for clients as diverse as Susan Sarandon or the great great grandson of Charles Darwin–Jill’s six years of living and working in Brazil makes her a true insider.

Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Travel Specialists list began as a service travel directory 9 years ago, yet it has turned into a must-have list of the most impressive, knowledgeable, and experienced travel specialists in the world.

Each year, Condé Nast Traveler Consumer News Editor Wendy Perrin leads a team of editors in evaluating applicants.  Listed travel specialists have undergone a rigorous screening process that includes a 47-question application with sample itineraries and client references, then continues with phone interviews and, in most cases, road-testing by Condé Nast Traveler staff.  Perrin receives hundreds of letters annually from around the world reporting back on the trips that were planned by these specialists, and you can read the most recent ones on Wendy Perrin’s blog at perrinpost.com.

About Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler does not accept free travel and accommodations, and its correspondents, as far as possible, travel anonymously.  The result is travel the way consumers experience it — good and bad, with reporting that is fair and honest.  Condé Nast Traveler has a circulation of over 800,000 and is published by Condé Nast Publications,cntraveler-cover Inc. 
 

Welcome to South American Escapes Blog

estrela-jpgJill Siegel – Brazil Travel Specialist – Biography

I am a Brazil Travel Specialist with over 25 years experience working exclusively with the Brazilian and South American travel industry.  For the past 7 years I have been one of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s “Top Travel Specialists” for Brazil travel.   My interest in all things Brazilian began during my flute performance studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Many Brazlilian students attended this famous international music school, and I felt drawn to the friendly outgoing nature of these talented classmates whose infectious enthusiasm inspired my immersion in all things Brazilian including music, Portuguese language, literature, history, art, politics and wonderful cuisine. I was fascinated by the novels of Brazil’s famous literary genius, Jorge Amado, “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands”, never imagining that 17 years later I would find myself spending a wonderful day with him at his home in Bahia, Brazil.

jill-and-angelaWith a strong desire to live and work in Brazil, I sought a position with a Boston based travel company called International Weekends and was soon on my way to Rio de Janeiro to manage an inbound charter tourism program. During this working hands on experience I was completely immersed in the Brazilian culture and found myself fluent in Portuguese after one year. Working with travelers visiting from all over the United States quickly became a challenging and educational way to learn a great deal about the Brazilian Tourism Trade.

ariau-best-arial-viewAfter 6 years working in Brazil, I returned to the United States and became the Official Travel Coordinator of NGOs for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development also known as The Earth Summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This was the largest environmental conference to date, gathering together heads of state from over 120 countries. My client list ranged from the Natural Resources Defense Council to recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Many of my clients were scientists, environmentalists and politicians from all over the world who had a great interest in visiting the Amazon Region during their participation at the Earth Summit. The Amazon State Tourism Authority sponsored my visit to Manaus and I was able to research many travel options available ranging from a unique tree top lodge to Amazon River cruises.

 

carybe-and-isabel-allendeisabel-and-friendjorge-amado-isabel-allende-carybeIn 1997 I was contacted by the great Latin American author, Isabel Allende, to design and arrange an itinerary for an upcoming visit to Brazil including the Amazon, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. It was during this trip with Isabel where I found myself visiting Jorge Amado in his home in Bahia. What a thrill it was to spend the day with two great Latin American writers, and Amado’s dear friend, Carybé, considered one of the greatest Brazilian Artists of all times. Carybé’s famous mural stretches across the International Arrivals Building at JFK Airport.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver the years I have also had the pleasure to know and work with the great ethnobotanist – Dr. Mark Plotkin, author of “Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice”, and featured in the Oscar nominated Imax documentary “Amazon.” Nothing can compare with the fascinating experience of accompanying Dr. Plotkin on a trek through the Amazon Rainforest. Dr. Plotkin’s vast knowledge of plant and wildlife never ceases to amaze me.

I have also had the opportunity to bring National Geographic photographers to the Amazon region as well as the Pantanal in Western Brazil. These trips have allowed me to see these regions through the eyes of some of the world’s best nature photographers including Mark Downey and Rick Sammon.

Other clients have included Susan Sarandon, director George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor), The Ralph Lauren Family, director/photographer David LaChapelle, and Matthew Chapman, great great grandson of Charles Darwin.

I am available for consultations, custom designed travel itineraries, and all aspects of travel planning to Brazil and South America.

Watch a fascinating video with Dr. Mark Plotkin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALG5NQgcMqQ

Dr. Mark Plotkin visits Google to discuss his book, “Medicine Quest: In Search of Nature’s Healing Secrets.

Contact:  Jill Siegel